It doesn’t matter whether you are a businessperson, at-home mother, engineer, college student, teacher or retired person—the way you think really impacts every aspect of your life.
God himself puts a premium on good thinking … how do I know that? God clearly values wisdom, which is the gain of one who regularly thinks well. I’m wondering how David instilled this in his son, Solomon, who asked God for wisdom and wrote “as people think in their hearts, so they are.1
I use this prayer of David often--both to get my head on straight and also to open a meeting which I will be leading: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart (i.e. my thoughts) be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”2
‘Do you think well?’ I posed, and then asked you to interview yourself about what occupies your mind. Besides examining the thoughts that issue forth from our hearts and minds, we are also taking a look at growing our minds:
>replacing thoughts that drag us down with truth (removing a destructive thought and replacing it with God’s truth)
>endeavoring to ask good questions in conversations—to increase our understanding, to gain greater perspective and also show interest in others’ viewpoints… Practice listening more. So, what else can we do in our thinking effort?
Learn new things and improve your thinking by
>reading. See the importance of reading the classics. (I recommend C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer) I cherish good writing - besides fostering rich thinking, the text will grow your vocabulary.
A little less conventional, some of my favorite reading is the New York Times’ obituaries because I learn a little about people’s professions, hobbies, altruistic endeavors, different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds as well as educational pursuits and the impact these individuals have made during their lifetimes. Obituaries often put words to legacies, and they challenge me to consider, ‘what will my legacy be?’ Consider these few lines from a July 10th offering: “Despite a debilitating motor neuron disorder, K. W. was an avid sailor, a talented photographer and author of five privately published novels which he wrote while in his 80s. K.W. was a deeply loyal friend, a man of insatiable curiosity, relentless humor and optimism, and undeniable charm.” Oh, yeah, and he joined the army in December, 1941…achieving the rank of Major and receiving the Bronze Star Medal. He considered his military service the greatest privilege.” Wow! I wish I would have known Ken, don’t you? Legacy … what’s yours? Yep, reading the obituaries, (particularly of the NY Times), inspires me.
Grow your thinking by reading things out of the norm for you; don’t just stay with your favorite genre of literature. I love to peruse the bookshelves in people’s homes—revealing, interesting, and sometimes inspirational—for my own reading! Have you read any poetry lately? ‘Been inspired by a hero’s biography? What made Jack Welch such a phenomenal businessperson? Why have more than 30 million people read Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People? Why not take an hour and visit a local used bookstore? Read … think … grow.
>Find ways to spend time in the presence of good thinkers. Who do you know that possesses a keen mind? What are the kinds of questions that person asks of himself and others? What is she reading? What motivates her drive to value good thinking? Who are the best thinkers you know?___________________ What separates them from the rest of the crowd?________________________ 3
Chances are, your ‘thinking’ friend stands out because she is not a conformist. He looks at things a little different than others; she is willing to think outside the box; she takes risks with her ideas; he is a visionary; she prompts others to think too … When Paul wrote, ‘do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed,’4 your thinking friend took it to heart! She made it her business to know what it could mean to have her mind renewed. Is he or she teaching a class? It doesn’t have to be one-on-one, but find ways to spend time in the presence of good thinkers. One more thing—the good thinker keeps his eyes on the goal. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”5
Train yourself to think well . . . we have seen the tremendous mind of Paul the apostle at work and under fire - he whose mind I admire so much. We will turn our sights back to him in the coming days. But I challenge you: grow to be the creative thinker God intended you to be!
Truth Be Told, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC2wk1w09U8
Elevate your thinking . . . whaddayasay?
1 - Proverbs 23.7
2 - Psalm 19.14
3 - Thinking for a Change, John Maxwell
4 - Romans 12.2
5 - Philippians 3.14